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Poll call: What is your preferred shift length?

A majority of EMS1 respondents are split between two shift options – do you agree?


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As EMS continues to struggle with recruitment and retention, current providers face long hours amid mandatory overtime shifts and short-staffed rigs.

In a recent poll, we asked EMS1 readers their preferred length of a single shift, ranging from 8-48 hours. Tied with the most votes at 36% out of more than 700 participants, EMS1 members prefer 12 or 24 hours shifts the most, followed by 48-hour shifts at 17% and 8-hour shifts at 8%. Only 3% of respondents said they preferred a different shift length to those listed.


What EMS1 readers are saying

“24/48’s. Loved it for 30 years!”

“24/48 but I’d take 24/72 if you keep my annual the same.”

“24-hour shift, hands down.”

“Any shift schedule that doesn’t have you working EVERY WEEKEND!”


“To all the nerds and 9-5 office jockeys that want to encourage legislators to mandate 12s or less … Are you gonna find us $50+ bucks per hour to make it? The current rates won’t do it in most places.”

“12-hour straight days if at a very busy urban system, otherwise 24/72.”

Additional resources

Rachel Engel is an award-winning journalist and the senior editor of and In addition to her regular editing duties, Engel seeks to tell the heroic, human stories of first responders and the importance of their work. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, and began her career as a freelance writer, focusing on government and military issues. Engel joined Lexipol in 2015 and has since reported on issues related to public safety. Engel lives in Wichita, Kansas. She can be reached via email.